Before we hear groans of “not another SEO guide”, this post contains tried and tested strategies which will not only stand you in good stead for the year ahead but up your SEO game for the long haul. Here at Square Media, we hate the short lived results that spammy SEO practices so regularly promise, instead we work on creating a solid foundation that delivers measurable results and unique solutions time and time again.
With news of search engine optimisation heading in all kinds of crazy directions in the latter half of 2017, we thought we’d use this opportunity to set the record straight. Let us give you the best practice SEO tips that will become a vital part of your strategy and subsequent online success story in the coming weeks and months.
RankBrain reigns supreme
Two years ago the all seeing eye that is Google announced that it will begin to use artificial intelligence to filter its results. Now it has been confirmed that these AI machines, known collectively as RankBrain, are the third most influential ranking signal. I know what you’re thinking – more robots to satisfy, and yes, we’re afraid so.
For those of you who don’t know, RankBrain measures how internet browsers interact with search results. Every first click, quick reaction and minute (or second, if you’ve found a particularly bad bit of content) spent on a web page is noted, and rankings are adjusted accordingly booting the most successful interactions up to those enviable top spots and demoting the poorest performing. To boost your SEO credentials this year satisfying the likes of RankBrain is a must. Focus on improving your landing pages to increase the number of users clicking on your result and boost the amount of time browsers spend there.
Spend more time on content
Content is still king, we hate to use this threadbare term but it’s truer now than it’s ever been. Great SEO is even better content marketing and vice versa, which means your content should be in-depth and written, not for the search engines and their spiders, but for your audience. Google still takes into account the conciseness and relevance of elements like your page’s title tag, URL, image ALT text, description tag and H1 but reviews content in a much smarter way, meaning you can’t get away with the keyword stuffing of yesteryear.
It’s long been known that keyword stuffing is a no-no. In fact, the pages with the most authority on the web contain a low (but still present) keyword density, lots (and lots) of useful content, and a thorough, heavily researched view of an entire topic. Writing the detailed content that Google needs isn’t easy, many businesses outsource this area of their marketing to specialists like us for an easier life. The best and highest ranking posts are at least 2,000 words long – these long form pieces now outrank shorter articles and don’t just contain any keywords but keywords classed as Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) phrases that relate specifically to the page’s subject matter. This keyword generator is a great tool to get your head around LSI keywords and find the right ones to add naturally to your copy.
Mobile first still matters
Google’s mobile first index is imminent, and whilst the death of desktop will be no news to you – 55% of all traffic comes from mobile – ensuring your website is ready for the switch should be an important part of your SEO strategy this year. Go responsive or at least make the main content on your website easily accessible prior to the introduction of their mobile first index. Remember that with the index Google no longer discounts content in tabs and accordion menus so ensure copy here is on point. This old blog from Google Webmaster offers some essential reading on how you can prepare for the mobile first index, whenever it will be unleashed on us, although fresher information is likely to arise closer to its launch date.
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